Threat of long delay to Manukau Harbour crossing
AUCKLAND BUSINESS FORUM
Motorway Network Completion by 2015
3.30 pm, Friday 10 August 2007
Threat of long delay to SH20 Manukau Harbour crossing project – “not good enough!”
The Transit New Zealand decision to remove the Gloucester Park Interchange from the SH20 Manukau Harbour duplicate bridge project due to be built before the Rugby World Cup in 2011 “is hugely disappointing,” Michael Barnett, chairman of the Auckland Business Forum said today.
“In the face of the intractable opposition to aspects of the project on the Auckland City side of the harbour it is however a smart move by Transit to withdraw its Notice of Requirement to concentrate on building a new bridge only within its existing designation.”
Transit has confirmed that despite the decision to postpone the interchange to seek a more acceptable solution to the local community, tenders have already closed for the design and construction of the mainline bridge replacement and SH20 motorway upgrade on the Manukau City side of the harbour in a bid to have the job finished on time in 2010-11.
“This offers some reassurance that the region can still get its transport network in shape by the time of the Rugby World Cup. Without increased capacity on Mangere Bridge the region faces considerably worse congestion and the possibility of a loss of support from many visitors to Auckland around that time,” warned Mr Barnett.
Traffic volumes to Auckland Airport and Manukau City will be excessive by 2011 both from normal growth and the influx of visitors expected for the Cup. As well, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) is completing a strategic project to upgrade public transport along the route and which requires a dedicated bus lane.
There is still a chance that the Gloucester Park Interchange can be redesigned in time to be built before the 2011, but it depends on the goodwill and co-operation of key community stakeholders especially Auckland City, the Auckland Regional Council and Onehunga Inter Agency working group, and being able to schedule meetings with speed and urgency, noted Mr Barnett.
“These organizations should know that the whole of the Auckland business community, including Onehunga businesses are closely watching the Manukau Harbour Crossing project. Transit has a design and construction team ‘ready to go’ – this time they can’t be blamed for the delay.
“If regional organizations continue to show that they cannot get their collective act together on key projects, it will accelerate the growing demand from the region for action to reform the region’s transport governance.”